Bacon, Onion, and Cheddar Corn Muffins

Onion Cheddar Bacon Corn Muffins

When I was little we would go to my grandmother’s house during the summer – she lived near the ocean, where we would spend our days.  She was an excellent cook, but like all good grandmothers, she wanted her grandchildren to be happy, and always asked us what we wanted for breakfast and lunch.  Of course my sister and I would always choose the same things – and it was because we hardly got these at our house.  We asked for Jiffy Corn Muffins for breakfast, and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese for lunch.  We ate these treats every day – and never got sick of them.  In fact, even today, I often crave a good box of Jiffy Corn Muffins – it is a blast from the past for me to sink my teeth into those sweet little morsels.  Although, over the years, I have discovered that homemade corn muffins can actually taste even better.  I know, can you believe it?  It’s all about bacon…and seriously, what doesn’t taste better with bacon?

This reminds me of another story – and then I promise to get back to these corn muffins.  Years ago my husband’s parents took us to Napa Valley for the weekend, and we stayed at this beautiful B&B in Yountville – this was when Yountville barely existed, and I swear this B&B may have been the only thing in this town.  We woke up to the wonderful smell of bacon – it was incredible.  It got us right up out of the comfortable bed, all dressed – and downstairs for breakfast.  When they told us what was on the menu – we asked where the bacon was?   They laughed – that was just to get people up – they weren’t serving it.  ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME????  We were besides ourselves, and the rest of the trip we were craving bacon.

So – what does these two stories have in common?  This recipe that I found in Cooking Light.  This recipe that combines a wonderful corn muffin with the perfect taste of bacon – and add a little onion and cheddar, then you have really have yourself a party in your mouth.  These are the perfect side dish to chili, soup or just about anything you serve for dinner.  Remember, everything is better with bacon – that is if you actually get to eat it…

Ingredients

  • 2  slices bacon
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/4 cups fat-free buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1  large egg, lightly beaten
  • 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 1/2 cup)
  •  Cooking spray

Preparation

Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat. Remove bacon, reserving drippings in pan. Drain bacon; crumble. Increase heat to medium-high. Add onion to drippings in pan; sauté 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine buttermilk, olive oil, and egg.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through pepper) in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Make a well in center of flour mixture. Add milk mixture; stir just until moist.

Stir in bacon, onion, and cheese. Spoon into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 400° for 13 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Remove muffins from tins; cool on a wire rack.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Bacon, Onion, and Cheddar Corn Muffins

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Bacon, Ranch, and Chicken Mac and Cheese

 

I hope that this is the first of many Mac-n-Cheese recipes on this blog.  I have certainly made my share over the years.  I am always looking for new unique Mac-n-Cheese recipes though – ones that are not just noodles and cheddar cheese.  I remember about a year ago I made a recipe for 4 kids that had 4 different types of cheese and bacon – and one of the kids (not one of mine) told me that it was the best Mac-n-Cheese he had ever had.  Now, I guess I can’t take that as a complete compliment, since my competition was probably just Annie’s – but still, it felt good. 

I saw this recipe in Cooking Light – and because I am not a fan of ranch dressing, it didn’t hit me as something I really longed to make.  My older daughter though likes to read over my shoulder – and there was another recipe right next to it that I was enthralled in…so she asked me when I was going to make the Mac-n-Cheese.  I had her look at the ingredients – and even though she is also not a huge ranch dressing fan, she wanted to try it.  I really think the bacon was clouding her judgement.  I can’t say this was my favorite recipe – but if you are looking for a different kind of Mac-n-Cheese – and you DO love ranch dressing – this is the ideal recipe for you.

Ingredients

  • 8  ounces  uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1  slice applewood-smoked bacon
  • 8  ounces  skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1  tablespoon  butter
  • 1  tablespoon  all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2  cups  fat-free milk
  • 1/3  cup  condensed 45% reduced-sodium 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 3/4  cup  (3 ounces) shredded six-cheese Italian blend (such as Sargento)
  • 1/2  teaspoon  onion powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon  garlic powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon  chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) shredded colby-Jack cheese

Preparation

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings in pan. Finely chop bacon; set aside. Increase heat to medium-high. Add chicken to drippings in pan; sauté 6 minutes or until done.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; sprinkle flour evenly into pan. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Combine milk and soup, stirring with a whisk; gradually add milk mixture to saucepan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat; let stand 4 minutes or until sauce cools to 155°. Add Italian cheese blend, onion powder, garlic powder, dill, and salt, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in pasta and chicken.

Preheat broiler.

Spoon mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with reserved bacon and colby-Jack cheese. Broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, click here:  Bacon, Ranch, and Chicken Mac and Cheese

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